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CFP: TLW-Glossae | Gloss Writing, Law and Critical Thought


TLW-Glossæ is an ongoing platform for gloss-writing about legal concepts in different languages, their histories and genealogies, and their different forms across cultures and languages. This CFP, or CFG ("call for glosses"), is intended to initiate the project by creating a select first set of concepts. This is a peer-reviewed project. The selected glosses will be published in the digital platform TLW-Glossæ, where they will be geolocalized and chronogrammed.

Please submit your proposals for a legal gloss to, using “TLW-Glossae -”title of your gloss”" as the subject line. Deadline for the presentation of proposals is April 1st 2016. Letters of acceptance and commentaries will be sent by the end of the month. Completed glosses are expected to be received by December 31st, 2016.

What is a gloss?

A gloss is a critical interpretation of a legal concept. A legal concept is in itself a critical decision. If you want to identify a legal concept, you do not have to limit yourself to legal codifications officially sanctioned by a sovereign power. You can identify other kind of legal concepts, of which the following list includes some suggestions, although it is not all-inclusive:

  • Concepts you find in legal, official texts.
  • Concepts you find in critiques of the legal system.
  • Concepts or ideas you find in legal and political scholarship.
  • Concepts that seem marginal, tropes, metaphors, fictions that are casually used but that may direct to more complex legal and critical issues or problems.
  • Concepts used as part of social and political struggle in the midst of revolts, uprisings, strikes, etc.
  • Concepts found in legal codifications, by redefined by private parties in order to suggest changes of all kinds.
  • Concepts and practices that would fall under what Michel Foucault called illegalisms.
  • Visual concepts that point to legal issues and problems.
  • Literary concepts that try to find their way into the legal realm in order to submit it to criticism.
  • Musical, and other sensorial concepts that raise the question of the legal affect.
  • Etc.

Do these concepts need to be in any particular language?

No. This is a multilingual database. Legal and political struggle, even legal codification in the most official form, is a process of translation and translatability in many different senses. Please feel free to suggest glosses in different languages and from different periods, and, by all means, cross cultures, periods, and political and legal systems when you are writing your gloss if it is relevant for your gloss-writing. Do not be afraid to suggest the original concept in the original language and script –and provide your reader with a transliteration and a cogent translation.

How to prepare your gloss

Title: Identify the concept you want to write about. Use the concept only as your title.

Date or date range for the concept: identify the moment of creation, or the moment in which a certain word becomes a legal concept, etc.

Location: it normally corresponds with the place of production of the primary source(s) you are using.

Content of the article:

  1. Identify the primary sources for your concept of choice
  2. Establish its legal genealogy or history
  3. Discuss its interpretations and more salient bibliography
  4. Create your interpretation by exploring the concept using critical and theoretical discourses. Ask yourself how this concept can be interpreted as a theoretical concept itself, and how can it be productive (if it can) for contemporary critical thought.
  5. Elaborate a bibliographical list with primary and secondary sources, using MLA 7 system.
  6. Elaborate a list of related hyperlinks.

Last Updated 5 years ago


Jesús R. Velasco and Bernard E. Harcourt, « CFP: TLW-Glossae | Gloss Writing, Law and Critical Thought », Blogs, Columbia University | LAIC, Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures (online), published on February 4, 2016. Full URL for this article

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